IRVINE, Calif. — July 8, 2008 — Legendary rock band Iron Maiden is using multiple Sonnet Fusion™ F2 RAID storage systems to record, store, play back, and edit HD concert footage, 35,000 photos, and 34-track live recordings of its groundbreaking "Somewhere Back in Time" tour. The band is the first in history to transport musicians, crew, and equipment on its own Boeing 757, piloted by the band's charismatic lead singer, Bruce Dickinson. With Dickinson at the controls, "Ed Force One" — named after the band's iconic mascot — touched down in 21 cities over 45 days during the first leg of the tour. The highly portable Fusion F2 — providing 640GB of storage in a rugged aluminum enclosure about the size of two stacked CD cases — enabled the band and crew to record the shows, edit daily footage, and review images for world press publication during the tour's torrid travel schedule, anywhere and anytime.
"Sonnet's Fusion F2 has been a complete godsend for this tour; it's an amazing little invention," declared Johnny B, videographer for Iron Maiden. "We're shooting the tour at 1920x1080 with Sony® XDCAM® EX camcorders, and I needed a portable storage system that could play back that footage seamlessly. The F2 does so brilliantly."
Johnny B, Dave Pattenden, Iron Maiden’s project manager, and Steve Harris, Iron Maiden’s founder and bassist, use their time on the band’s jet to watch footage from earlier shows stored on the Fusion F2 to see how the staging, lighting, and pyrotechnics played out. The ability to edit footage anywhere for use on the show jumbotrons, as well as specials for Sky TV, Fox TV, CNN, and MTV, enabled much quicker turnaround and more creative edits. An F2 together with a MacBook® Pro notebook also simplified stage setup, enabling the crew to see precisely how lighting and cameras for various stage elements — including the 17-foot tall mascot, Eddie — had been set up on previous evenings, which allows for positioning without wasting valuable setup time.
Johnny B added, "Whether we're at the venue, hotel, airport, or plane, a MacBook Pro notebook with a Fusion F2 is instrumental to the success of the tour. It has really changed the way we work. We used it so many places where we had no power. Previously, we could not have checked edits immediately, but on this tour we were able to cut videos on beaches in Puerto Rico, and miles up into the Andes."
John McMurtrie, respected photographer and portraitist documenting Iron Maiden's history-making world tour, also used Fusion F2s, ultimately storing 35,000 images shot with his Nikon® D3 camera. The F2s provided McMurtrie with fluid access to raw digital files through Adobe® Lightroom®, which in turn enabled him to provide the best images to media outlets from across the globe on very short notice. "The Fusion F2 was absolutely amazing," said McMurtrie. "I thought that trying to store and retrieve files throughout the tour would be a nightmare, but the Sonnet system let me access images right there and then, whether we were in the dressing room or on the plane. I have used a lot of drives, but after working with the F2 and Lightroom, I'll never use anything else."
The Fusion F2 provides speed, reliability, and convenience for on-location video capture or remote use when grid power is unavailable. Measuring just 5.9 by 6.2 by 0.72 inches, the rugged, fanless aluminum enclosure houses two 320-GB, 5400-RPM 2.5-inch drives that are individually shock-isolated and mounted side-by-side to ensure secure storage in a low-power design. Fusion F2 draws its power through a computer's FireWire® port, and transfers data through a SATA host controller, in this case, Sonnet's Tempo™ SATA ExpressCard/34, enabling it to deliver remarkable performance, with data transfer rates up to twice as fast as a pair of FireWire 800 drives.
Even though space on the "Ed Force One" plane is extremely limited, the band carries eleven Sonnet F2 systems — most simply carried in a camera backpack along with lenses, cables, and other camera equipment. The MacBook Pro and the bus-powered Fusion F2 storage systems give Iron Maiden the equivalent of a portable studio that is used during flights and other down times to prepare footage.
"Somewhere Back in Time" is inspired by the band's acclaimed 1985 "Powerslave Tour" and its recently released, chart-topping "Live After Death" DVD that showcases that tour. The 2008 tour revisits Iron Maiden's classic '80s period in both choice of songs and stage set. Launched in Mumbai on Feb. 1, the tour travels in just 45 days to 12 countries around the globe — India, Australia, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Additional show dates in North America and Europe are scheduled through August.
More information about Iron Maiden and the "Somewhere Back in Time" tour is available at Iron Maiden's official Web site: www.ironmaiden.com.
More information about the Fusion F2 and other Sonnet products is available at www.sonnettech.com.
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About Sonnet Technologies
Sonnet Technologies, Inc. of Irvine, Calif., is a leader in providing local storage systems for professional users of Macintosh®, Windows®, and UNIX® systems in the film, video, and broadcast industries. Since its founding in 1986, Sonnet has pioneered and brought to market innovative solutions that enhance the performance and connectivity of Macintosh and industry-standard computers. Today, the company is a world-leading computer hardware upgrade company with a product line featuring a range of high-performance, cost-effective, and reliable storage solutions, as well as a variety of performance-extending upgrade cards. More information is available at www.sonnettech.com.
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